I’ve had five photo books and one computer book published by “traditional” book publishers. My experience with these publishers is that they aren’t very good at their jobs and they take the lion’s share of the money. So I started doing research into e-books and non-traditional publishing and frankly I was shocked at the results.

First let me say that many photographers have tried and failed to get traditional books published. The truth is – photography books don’t usually sell well and traditional publishers don’t like to gamble. So for many of you, traditional publishing wouldn’t be an option in any event. Since I had a traditional book deal, I have a unique view into both sides because I’ve also delivered more than 120,000 downloads of my various e-books on photography.

The traditional route is in real jeopardy. There are essentially two big bookstores on the planet. Barnes & Noble and Amazon. The Barnes & Noble option may not be around all that long, leaving only Amazon. While you typically do need a publisher to get into Barnes & Noble – you do not need one to get into Amazon.

In my experience, if you have your own audience, or know how to take advantage of social media, you’ll probably be better off without the traditional publisher.

Amazon says sales of ebooks on Kindle outstrip sales of printed books. There are various online sources for e-book sales such as Amazon, Google Play, Scribd.com, iBookStore, etc.

The tools to make e-books are widely available. iBookAuthor is free from Apple. Pages is another program Apple sells that can generate e-books. Adobe has a robust, sophisticated suite of tools including InDesign, Acrobat and DPS. Even a simple word processing program is capable of generating an electronic book.

The goal of this post is not to tell you how to make a book, but to get you thinking about the possibilities.

There is another goal here – I want to introduce a solution for photographers (and anyone else) who might be interested in e-publishing. Richard Harrington and I have joined forces with Future Media Concepts to create the International Association of E-Publishers. (iaepub.org)

We’re planning a conference in January in Orlando, Florida where we’ll have some of the best teachers, trainers, and publishing minds in the business there to help you become your own publisher.

In conjunction with this new endeavor I invite you to start following IAEPUB on Twitter and if you do, then you may also have a chance to win your choice of a new Nikon D800 or Canon 5D MK III camera body. Yep – I have another contest for you.